There has never been a better time to buy a boat. I’m serious! Banks may be crumbling like sandcastles before an incoming tide, summer seems to have bypassed Britain entirely and fuel isn’t exactly cheap but if you’ve got a few bob stashed away, the world is your Oyster, Bavaria, Azimut or any other boat that tickles your fancy.
The cruel truth is that one man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity, and the perfect storm unleashed by the current economic woes coming to a head during the crucial autumn boat show season means there are plenty of opportunities out there.
I was fearful that the Southampton Boat Show could have been the biggest flop since the Millennium Dome but the orders were still piling in for sought-after new boats. Read our reports on the Fairline Squadron 55 (p80), Sealine SC47 (p20) and Princess V62 (p38) and you’ll soon understand why. Almost more importantly, deals were still being done on less high-profile boats.
In the current climate no dealers like to hold new or used boats in stock for long, which means that there are some fantastic bargains to be had. It may sound mercenary to be taking advantage of the situation but it’s far better than boats sitting around unsold and clogging up the market. It is precisely this type of deal-making that will ultimately get things moving again. If people are buying now, they clearly think that the credit crunch won’t last forever and that this is the time to grab the boat of their dreams while the going’s good – or bad, depending on your point of view.
I can see where they’re coming from. Ignore the barrage of doom and gloom inflicted on us by the mass media, and there are a few glimmers of hope to back up this glass-half-full view. Oil prices have fallen back from a high of $150 a barrel to less than $110 at the time of writing and the government has finally decided on a half-sensible solution for the red diesel crisis, which will see most boat owner’s paying around £1.10 a litre for red diesel or less if crude prices continue to drop.
Besides, as I persist in telling my financial adviser, you can’t do 36 knots in a personal pension plan.